An allergy is an immune system response to a foreign substance that’s not typically harmful to your body. These foreign substances are called allergens. They can include certain foods, pollen, or pet dander.
Your immune system’s job is to keep you healthy by fighting harmful pathogens. It does this by attacking anything it thinks could put your body in danger. Depending on the allergen, this response may involve inflammation, sneezing, or a host of other symptoms.
Your immune system normally adjusts to your environment. For example, when your body encounters something like pet dander, it should realize it’s harmless. In people with dander allergies, the immune system perceives it as an outside invader threatening the body and attacks it.
Allergies are common. Several treatments can help you avoid your symptoms.
Symptoms of allergies
The symptoms you experience because of allergies are the result of several factors. These include the type of allergy you have and how severe the allergy is.
If you take any medication before an anticipated allergic response, you may still experience some of these symptoms, but they may be reduced.
For food allergies
Food allergies can trigger swelling, hives, nausea, fatigue, and more. It may take a while for a person to realize that they have a food allergy. If you have a serious reaction after a meal and you’re not sure why see a medical professional immediately. They can find the exact cause of your reaction or refer you to a specialist.
For seasonal allergies
Hay fever symptoms can mimic those of a cold. They include congestion, runny nose, and swollen eyes. Most of the time, you can manage these symptoms at home using over-the-counter treatments. See your doctor if your symptoms become unmanageable.
For severe allergies
Severe allergies can cause anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening emergency that can lead to breathing difficulties, lightheadedness, and loss of consciousness. If you’re experiencing these symptoms after coming in contact with a possible allergen, seek medical help immediately.
Everyone’s signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction are different.
Allergies on skin
Skin allergies may be a sign or symptom of an allergy. They may also be the direct result of exposure to an allergen.
For example, eating a food you’re allergic to can cause several symptoms. You may experience tingling in your mouth and throat. You may also develop a rash.
Contact dermatitis, however, is the result of your skin coming into direct contact with an allergen. This could happen if you touch something you’re allergic to, such as a cleaning product or plant.
Types of skin allergies include:
- Rashes. Areas of skin are irritated, red, or swollen, and can be painful or itchy.
- Eczema. Patches of skin become inflamed and can itch and bleed.
- Contact dermatitis. Red, itchy patches of skin develop almost immediately after contact with an allergen.
- Sore throat. Pharynx or throat is irritated or inflamed.
- Hives. Red, itchy, and raised welts of various sizes and shapes to develop on the surface of the skin.
- Swollen eyes. Eyes may be watery or itchy and look “puffy.”
- Itching. There’s irritation or inflammation in the skin.
- Burning. Skin inflammation leads to discomfort and stinging sensations on the skin.
Rashes are one of the most common symptoms of a skin allergy.